I graduated from OMSCS, Online Masters in Computer Science Program from Georgia Tech. I accomplished my personal goal of a Masters in Computer Science from a reputed university. I got admitted into this program in 2014 and continued to take one class per 15-week term. I decided to do more than required by taking three additional classes, and graduated with a specialization in "Computational Perception and Robotics," and "Software Systems."
My desire to do a master's in computer science was one of my first wishes in my career. I did my schooling and college in India. I had missed going to a reputed college. So, I started trying to get into a Masters in Computer Science. I failed in 2002 in my first attempt. I started working and earning money. I took courses and tried again in 2003 and failed. I must have tried yet again in 2004 and failed. My understanding of the subjects, and more importantly, my planning skills were feeble.
I started taking courses as I could not give up on my desire to learn Computer Science. I took Continuing Education Proficiency Courses from IISc offered on Wednesday evenings. These courses paved the way for me to get into a CPython Development through Google Summer of Code program.
I had not achieved my desired goal yet. So, I started trying again in 2007. After having work experience, having four patents from work, having done part-time courses, I applied again. This time for US universities. I tried for 10 universities in 2007 and got rejected by all of them. In 2008, I tried again for 5 universities and got rejected by them. I went for it in 2009 and did not get into any of the 5 universities. In 2010, I got one admit through referral, but I decided not to pursue it as it was not suitable for me. In 2012, I almost enrolled in a part-time master's program but did not pursue it as it was not Computer Science.
In 2014, the OMSCS program was launched, and it looked very promising. I applied, and I got an admit in its second offering. I took it up. I started my classes in Jan 2015, and after taking 13 courses, completed it in December 2019. I have a GPA of 3.21.
My most important learning during this course was my failure (getting a C) in Computational Photography due to a mistake I did. I could have been out of the program, but I became careful, corrected myself, and retook the course to get B grade.
The experience has shaped me well as a person. The journey was fun, eventful. My family, my wife, Shalini, supported me a lot. She would regularly check-in with my plans and plan our social outings accordingly.
We had celebrated our first Kid, Siddhartha's 1st birthday, when I had started this program. We had our second kid, Saharsha, while I was doing the courses. Keeping them entertained while doing masters is challenging. I used to put them to sleep and then return back to my computer for completing the assignments.
In terms of work, I had lost a job, got a new job, and then changed a new one during this timeframe. I struggled a bit to balance work and study but managed to concentrate on work and not let one disturb the plans of the other. I also got promoted twice in the same organization in this time-frame. This was a long pending desire and mental block for me, that I had overcome.
Finally, we celebrated my graduation with a family trip to Atlanta, and my wife Shalini organized a party with our friends. My wife had also requested me to give a short speech. Here is the speech that I shared with my friends.
We can celebrate anything. My wife, Shalini, is organizing this party as she wanted to celebrate my graduation.
I feel a little awkward and embarrassed to be honest, but I am supporting her just as she helped me throughout this journey. And I want to thank my friends for coming.
For sharing things that I have learned, I want to talk about the quality of honesty because I think about it a lot.
It is challenging to keep up with the changes; it is challenging when our desires fail; it becomes challenging to lose opportunities every day. Given all these, I still think that our time and the journey is enjoyable, if on any task we dedicate our time to, we do so with honesty. There is a lot of value in doing things with our bent of mind. Learning, understanding, and then doing things that we like to do. Failing is okay, and the number of attempts overtime does not matter. The result might be enjoyable, just as I realized that with my graduation.